Taipei postpones international book fair until May amid coronavirus fears

Taiwan's top annual literary event was expecting half a million visitors

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Crowds in Taipei Thursday (Jan. 30). 

Crowds in Taipei Thursday (Jan. 30).  (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taipei International Book Exhibition (TIBE), Taiwan’s largest annual literary event, will be postponed from Feb. 4-9 to May 7-12 as a result of the spreading novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) epidemic, the Ministry of Culture announced Thursday (Jan. 30).

The book fair was to have been the first major public event following the end of the Lunar New Year holiday. It usually attracts thousands of visitors from all over the country and exhibitors from all over the world.

Publishing houses had been questioning the wisdom of allowing 500,000 people visiting an indoor event amid worries of the virus spreading between humans, CNA reported.

After a debate between both supporters and opponents of a postponement, it was the Ministry of Culture which announced the new dates for May.

As of Thursday, Taiwan has confirmed eight coronavirus cases, though in China the number has reached more than 7,000 with at least 170 deaths.